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Currently shown
Thomas Gainsborough

Rustic Courtship

Artist

Thomas Gainsborough
Sudbury, England, 1727 – London 1788

Title

Rustic Courtship

Date

About 1758

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

74.6 x 120.3 cm

Credits

Gift of the family of David Morrice in memory of their parents, inv. 1915.57

Collection

Western Art

Among the greatest of British painters is certainly Gainsborough. In this landscape from his Suffolk period, the pastoral fantasies of the Rococo painter Boucher are converted, with warm tonalities, into a more rustic setting. The artist delights in the study of nature and animals, and the meticulous differentiation of species of trees. This painting is one of many the artist sent from Ipswich, where he resided between 1752 and about 1759, to his London dealer. The picture evidently was judged an important enough work to be printed and copied on china plates. The artist’s earliest emulations of the Dutch landscapes of Ruisdael, then popular in the London market, are modified here by his experience of the more idealized and sweeping views of the Italian landscapist Zuccarelli, who successfully worked in England in the 1750s. The country figures fading into the landscape convey an English sense of the harmony of nature and pastoral simplicity, with a certain languid relaxation.

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